Did you know that for the first time in history, women are drinking as much as men? That’s a tidbit that Jada Pinkett Smith shared on the latest broadcast of her Red Table Talk where she revealed her personal past with alcohol abuse, the increase in alcohol use in women (especially casual drinking since the pandemic started), and the negative effects of the ‘mommy wine’ culture that’s so prevalent in society today. It’s not just middle-aged men being admitted to hospitals with liver damage; now the number of women in their 40’s and 50’s who are suffering from illnesses related to alcohol consumption is growing — and even the number of young women in their 20’s and 30’s is skyrocketing, according to Dr. Jessica Melligner, a liver disease specialist at the University of Michigan.
Pinkett Smith sat down for her Red Table Talk broadcast with her co-hosts — mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris (a recovering addict) and daughter Willow Smith — and challenged viewers to answer the question: Are you drinking too much? She shared that her substance abuse started as a hard liquor drinker from an early age growing up in Baltimore. “I was a brown liquor drinker vodka, like I was a hard liquor drinker,” she said. “I could drink almost anyone under the table.” Pinkett Smith says she moved from drinking hard liquor to drinking red wine because it’s said to be a ‘healthier’ choice. “They say red wine is ‘good for you,’ but drinking red wine for me was like, drinking glasses of water. I’m like, where’s the next? Because I’m used to that hard hit.”
When she got to the point that she became resistant to the alcohol buzz, the actress and businesswoman started introducing marijuana and ecstasy into the mix.
“I was drinking hard in high school, too, and when I got out here I was doing cocktails. So, ecstasy, alcohol, weed. Let me tell you, I was having myself a little ball,” she revealed. She continued, explaining that “your threshold becomes so high” that the cocktail was the only thing that would “keep the high going.”
Unfortunately, quitting this dangerous cycle doesn’t come as easily for everyone as it did for Pinkett Smith, who says she quit cold turkey. “Once I was going for that third bottle of wine, I was cold turkey ever since.”
Although those glasses at the store that say “Wine is cheaper than therapy” are cute, the glamorization of alcohol and heavy drinking is causing people — and moms — their lives. In addition to a school teacher and a corporate attorney who discussed their struggles with alcohol addiction, another guest at the table was Annie Grace, a mother of three who was a rising star in the marketing world until happy hour turned into two bottles of wine per night. Grace, a recovering alcoholic, created This Naked Mind to help others get “back in control by removing your desire to drink using science and helping you change your subconscious beliefs.”
Watch the full episode below:
Red Table Talk is always enlightening, but this episode serves as a great reminder to examine your own alcohol consumption habits. Having a social glass of wine here and there is one thing, but when you’re using alcohol to get you through the day, please take a moment to pause and get some help.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s free 24/7 hotline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).